Apres Moi, Le Medvedev
Things are going badly in the Caucasus. The news from just one day, last Tuesday, should be more than enough to make a hard man humble -- though perhaps not a hard psychopath like Vladimir Putin.
Yulia Latynina wrote in the Moscow Times about insurrection in Ingushtia. She tells the story of Maksharip Aushev, who was arrested by the Putin's secret police after he protested and investigated the arrest and torture of his nephew and son in the village of Narzan. She tell us:
Agents allegedly broke the young men's ribs, and drove them into the mountains to witness what is called 'Snickers' in certain circles. This is where police tie explosives to a corpse and detonate it, blowing the body into little pieces, which are then eaten by wild animals so that the victim's identity will never be established. This torture had no practical value in gaining evidence; the henchmen were just having fun. But their sadism backfired when people in Nazran took to the streets demanding the release of the pair. As a result of this public outcry, the cousins were released.The secret police then burned down Aushev's brother's home and locked him up. Latynina observes: "People like Aushev are Russia's last hope. He conducted himself like a brave warrior. He did not adopt the terrorists' methods but fought his battle within the boundaries of the law. I don't think Putin likes these kinds of fighters."
Then the Associated Press told us that "Audit Chamber Chairman Sergei Stepashin on Tuesday warned that costs for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi are spiraling to double the amount planned." This puts the costs at more than $25 billion or nearly $200 for every man, woman and child in Russia - a full week's average wages for each. The AP states: "Sochi was one of the Soviet Union's most popular vacation spots, but development has not kept pace with Russia's general post-Soviet economic boom. Its lack of facilities and substandard infrastructure was seen as one of the bid's potential weak points, but strong government support proved persuasive to International Olympic Committee members." So, naturally, that was the spot Putin chose to host the Olympics.
These two events are horrifying enough on their own. Now, put them together. It's easy, because Ingushetia is right next door to Sochi and Chechnya. 2 + 2 = 0. Zero hope that the powder keg Putin has created in the Caucuses will not explode right about the time the games commence, that is if they manage to commence at all, sending the true cost of these "games" into the region of the imponderable, the inconceivable.
Think the Kremlin can't make this unimaginably bad situation even worse? Think again.
Turn back to the Moscow Times, and reporter David Nowak tells us that "an Uzbek man has been stabbed to death in southwestern Moscow, the fourth fatal attack on dark-skinned people in the city in the past five days." Nowak states: "A total of 67 people were killed and more than 550 injured nationwide in hate crimes last year, according to Sova Center statistics." And Russia is on pace to double that number of killings this year, with 23 in just the first six weeks of 2008. Nowak quotes Soyun Sadykov, who heads Azerross, a group representing Azeri citizens living in Russia: "We have these poor people coming to Russia in search of a better life -- to work, and to provide for their families. Instead of thanking them for providing the labor force in sectors that Muscovites wouldn't dream of occupying, we are cutting them up, stabbing them to death."
In other words, white Slavic Orthodox Russia is not only torturing and murdering in the Caucuses, but everywhere across the country, perhaps most especially in the nation's capital, where Vladimir Putin himself resides, building resentment among all the nation's dark-skinned peoples, practically inviting them to strike back. Meanwhile, it throws up in their faces a grandiose Olympic scheme, as if to say: "See what we prefer to do with our money, rather than to make a better life for you."
A famous French king, when asked why he chose to rule in such a profligate and self-destructive manner, answered: "Apres moi, le deluge." Putin is rumored to have squirreled away billions of ill-gotten dollars and to be in the process of erecting secret vacation homes in various corners of Europe. He's found a bird-brained sycophant to "succeed" him, which really means "take the blame, like the sap you are."
Speaking about the Kremlin's attack on the British Council, that successor (Dmitri Medvedev) said: "Try as I might, I cannot recall a single episode when the British government permitted Russian non- governmental organization to operate in Great Britain. I dare you try and register a Russian non-governmental organization in London." So it seems that the reason du jour for attacking the BC is to force Britain to accept Russian cultural institutions (never mind that most people in the world lack the slightest interest in Russia culture and would ignore such institutions, especially if they were run by clueless Russians, and never mind that the Kremlin never raised a single word of protest about such an issue before launching the attack). But yesterday, the reason was that the BC was violating Russian law. The day before that, it was a nest of spies. And the day before that, it was a sacrificial symbol of Russian outrage over Britain daring to investigate the murder of Alexander Litvinenko.
Mr. Medvedev simply can't make up his mind, such as there is. Quite literally, he wants to have his cake and eat it too, just like his Soviet predecessors. And while he's consumed with winning the great battle against the British Council, he's not even aware of the apocalypse his government is creating in the Caucuses.
Great Russian patriot that Mr. Medvedev is, he loves Russia just the way Stalin did.
He loves it to death.